Get Your Wood Dry in 5 Simple Steps

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Different wood species age at their own unique rates. That means some woods will dry quickly, while others may require much more time. From a woodworking perspective, green wood can be cheap wood. That means waiting until it has properly dried before getting creative and making some sawdust.

There is no way to visually check to see if the wood you have for woodworking is dry enough. That is why the purchase of a moisture meter is a great investment. With a moisture meter, you can know for certain that your wood is ready or not ready immediately.

There are two types of moisture meters that are available right now.

Pin-type moisture meters require a set of pins to be driven into the wood that you wish to use. That means you must insert the pins into different portions of the wood to determine if moisture pockets exist.

Pinless meters do less damage to the wood while still providing an accurate reading. You just place the scanning plate onto the wood, activate the unit, and obtain the reading. Multiple readings can be taken in under a minute, so you can know with great certainty that the wood is useful or not.

Pin-type meters must be used on wood that is not flat. Pinless meters should be used on wood that is delicate.

Steps to Take If You Do Not Own a Moisture Meter

How was wood checked for seasoning before moisture meters were invented?

A process of weight comparison was used. Wood with high moisture content weighs more than wood with low moisture content.

You can use the same process to season your wood over the course of about a week instead of waiting a season or two. Here are the steps that you can follow.


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Step by Step Instructions

  • Step 1

    Weigh the wood. Use a reliable scale to determine how much your wood currently weighs. Most of your wood pieces should be of a similar size and shape. If you have multiple types, then you’ll need to weigh a sample from each size and shape for accurate results. Then record the weight.

  • Step 2

    Heat the wood. The best temperature for drying wood is 217 degrees Fahrenheit. Some digital ovens will only set at 5-degree intervals, so use 215 degrees instead of 220 degrees for this step.

  • Step 3

    Dry the wood. You will need to set your wood sample(s) in the oven for 4 hours. Be sure to set a timer for this process. You do not want to leave the wood in longer for 4 hours because it will throw off your measurements. Once the 4 hours have completed, take the wood out and weigh it. Record the weight.

    The wood should weigh less than it did on your first measurement.

  • Step 4

    Repeat steps two and three. You must continue the heating and drying process in 4-hour cycles until your wood samples weigh the same on 3 consecutive cycles. Once that occurs, you know that the wood has been effectively seasoned.

  • Step 5

    Calculate your ideal moisture content. This optional step can let you determine what the ideal moisture content of your wood happens to be. It is a basic algebraic equation. Take your initial weight reading, then subtract the oven dry weight reading. Take the answer you receive and divide it by the oven dry weight multiplied by 100.

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